A dozen fast fun-to-drive affordable cars

If you love to drive, there are a dozen affordable cars you can opt for in India. It’s now a great time to be a driving enthusiast, in a country that was starved for fast, fun and affordable options not so long ago. So, here they are – 12 fast, fun cars for under 12 lakhs.

Honda Brio

The Honda Brio is a pint sized powerhouse. For those who miss the Maruti Zen, this is nearly a perfect replacement, with more power and safety to boot. Powered by a 1.2 liter i-VTEC petrol engine (87 Bhp-110 Nm) that likes to be whipped for performance, the Brio is a sprinter, what with a 12.5 second 0-100 Kph run. The car’s light weight (920 Kgs) and petite dimensions mean that it can squeeze in and out of urban traffic. The higher variants features ABS and twin airbags.

Volkswagen Polo GT TSI

The Polo GT TSI is a turbo petrol car that also gets one of the fastest automatic gearboxes ever seen in a sub-10 lakh rupee car. The 1.2 liter TSI turbo petrol engine of the Polo GT gives it 103 Bhp-175 Nm, and a 0-100 Kph sprint time of about 10 seconds. The 7 speed twin clutch DSG gearbox elevates the driving experience to an all new level, with lightning fast gearshifts and aggressive kick downs. This is one car that loves to be driven hard. Aftermarket suspension does a lot to improve handling though.

Volkswagen Polo GT TDI


If the GT TSI is about revving to the moon and reveling in turbo petrol power, the GT TDI is the Polo with bagfuls of torque, 250 Nm of it. The car uses a 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel engine from the now infamous EA189 family. This engine is mated to a slick shifting 5 speed manual gearbox. The car is properly fast, hitting 100 Kph from standstill in about 10 seconds. Diesel means big savings at the fuel station too, and the GT TDI is one car that lets you have the cake, and eat it too.

Fiat Punto Abarth

The Punto Abarth is the reigning king of high performance, hot hatchbacks in India. For a sticker price of under 10 lakh rupees, you get a car that’s got the best power to rupee ratios in the country. 145 Italian stallions, with 212 Nm of torque is what the Abarth Punto gets. The 1.4 liter T-Jet turbo petrol engine has strong torque from 2,000 rpm. A solid build, a mature suspension set up and a hydraulic steering that’s one of the best in a car priced under 20 lakhs are highlights of the Punto Abarth, which does the 0-100 Kph run in about 8.8 seconds.

Ford Figo Diesel

Drum roll. The Ford Figo Diesel is the fastest budget diesel hatchback in the country. It’s a Ford, and it handles reasonably well too, even though it’s nowhere close to the car it replaced. The 1.5 liter TDCI turbo diesel motor on the car puts out 98.6 Bhp and 215 Nm. The lightness is what really gives the Figo Diesel long legs, making for a sub-10 second 0-100 Kph sprint. This car is super affordable too, and for 5.3 lakh rupees, one can buy a really fast diesel hatchback. Value-for-money? Hell, yes.

Ford Figo Aspire Diesel

Want a compact sedan that’s fast, and is equipped with plenty of safety? The Ford Figo Aspire is the answer you’re looking for. The car is essentially the Figo hatchback, in a sedan body style. The car shares its engine and gearbox, and much of the components with its hatchback sibling. So, in diesel guise, it’s a high performance machine out and out. Ford has priced it super competitively, making it one of the best buys in the compact sedan class.

Fiat Avventura Abarth

Love the performance of the Punto Abarth, but want plenty of ground clearance. Pick the Avventura Abarth. This car is a jacked up version of the Punto, with the same engine-gearbox combination, better tyres and 205 mm ground clearance. The car is much more practical than its hatchback sibling, and is also priced similarly. A sub-10 second 0-100 Kph run makes the Avventura Abarth a seriously fast car that enthusiasts love.

Honda City Petrol

The Honda City Petrol is an executive sedan that can shame many bigger cars. The car’s 1.5 liter i-VTEC petrol makes 117 Bhp-145 Nm, and loves to be revved. A typical Honda petrol, it’s a smoothie. Mated to a 5 speed gearbox, and powering a car that’s built light, the engine propels the City to 100 Kph in under 10 seconds. For the kind of performance the City Petrol offers, it’s a big value-for-money buy. An upgraded suspension set up will elevate the car from good to great.

Volkswagen Vento TSI

If you find the Polo TSI cramped, buy the Vento TSI. Essentially a sedan style version of the Polo, the car shares its turbo petrol engine and automatic gearbox with the Polo. It has nice discounts and finance schemes running on it. All in all, the Vento is a well built German sedan that’s fast and fun to drive. Priced under 12 lakh rupees, it’s quite affordable too.

Volkswagen Vento DSG Diesel

The DSG Diesel variant of the Vento shares the 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearbox with the Polo TSI. The car shares its engine with the Polo GT TDI. So, you get the best of both worlds – a super fast gearbox and the torquey 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel engine. Performance and fuel efficiency, you can have them both in the Vento DSG.

Skoda Rapid DSG Diesel


The Skoda Rapid is a Vento with a different badge, and better tuned suspension. And the suspension is what makes the Rapid Diesel a better car than the Vento. You also get a slightly cheaper price tag, making the equation more attractive. The Rapid Diesel shares the 1.5 TDI turbo diesel engine with the Vento, along with the 5 speed manual and 7 speed automatic gearbox options. Fast and frugal, this is one attractive Skoda for driving enthusiasts.

Fiat Linea T-Jet

The Linea T-Jet ushered in the turbo petrol era in India, among affordable cars. The car uses a 1.4 liter T-Jet turbo petrol engine in 114 Bhp-207 Nm state of tune. This engine is paired with a 5 speed manual gearbox. The Linea excels in the steering, build and suspension departments. The car is going for hefty discounts, making it a very attractive buy.

Images courtesy TheAutomotiveIndia, Team-BHP,  GaadiWaadiWrapFolio